What You Need to Know About Gaming on an Aging Windows PC with Stunning Graphics and Smooth Framerates
To teach an old dog new tricks, you must make it easier for them to perform. Here’s how to get the most out of an older Windows PC’s performance.
In time, even the most powerful PC on the market today will be out-of-date. It’s only a matter of time before today’s most cutting-edge technology struggles to keep up with the most demanding games.
Fortunately, unlike consoles, PC gaming offers a significant advantage: the ability to customize your experience. You can keep the game’s graphics stunning while also speeding up framerates by fiddling with the game’s options.
What Causes Diminishing Framerates on a Computer?
Modern PCs are built on four main pillars, all of which can have an impact on how well a game runs:
- The number of cores and the speed of the CPU.
- The GPU’s performance, memory, and other capabilities.
- The amount of RAM and its speed.
Framerates will drop if any of these properties fail to meet the expectations of the game. Learn more about “framerate” by reading our article on what FPS means in gaming, explaining why high FPS numbers are necessary for an enjoyable gaming experience.
The “slow” part could theoretically be improved. Generally, most people would prefer to delay a costly upgrade for as long as possible because it would necessitate purchasing a brand new laptop for most people.
Our guide on overclocking a graphics card in Windows 10 using ASUS GPU Tweak II is an alternative. Since this is all about overclocking your hardware, we’ve put together a guide on how to do so safely.
Would you prefer to avoid putting too much strain on your hardware? There’s still hope: You can identify what’s limiting a game’s performance and tweak it to improve its frame rate.
Increasing the CPU’s Power
Some in-game options may be helpful if the CPU is the bottleneck. Before changing settings, try “unburdening” the processor.
Terminate any other software that may be consuming CPU cycles and consuming resources. These “helpers” are often active in Windows’ tray. If you’re experiencing low FPS while playing a game on Windows, check out our guide to fixing it.
Also, be sure to look at our instructions on how to turn off GameDVR.
Go to the Performance tab in Task Manager if you’re concerned about the CPU. Logical processors can be viewed by right-clicking the graph and selecting Change graph > Logical processors from the drop-down menu.
Keep an eye on the graphs as you return to your game. There are some “logical processors” in the red, but most appear to be sleeping. Disabling hyperthreading in the BIOS/UEFI of your motherboard may be an option.
Multi-threaded software can benefit from hyperthreading, which breaks each CPU core into smaller “logical processors” to increase performance. It can hurt single-threaded application performance.
The general performance of the graphics processing unit
Despite having enough VRAM for the game, your graphics card may still underperform. Do you notice jittery frame rates due to this “underperformance”? The simplicity of the setting, such as a dark room with a handful of items and characters, affects the game’s smoothness. If that’s the case, the processing power of the GPU is most likely inadequate.
Besides upgrading your GPU, there aren’t many things you can do outside of the game to help this situation.
Fortunately, several visual settings can be changed to speed up a game’s playback speed. In order of importance:
- The ambiguity of the situation
- Specifications of the model
To get a performance boost, the first thing you should do is lower the game’s resolution. A lower resolution can be upscaled to match your monitor’s native resolution using NVIDIA and AMD GPU technologies like DLSS and FSR, supported by nearly all modern GPUs from both companies.
Our guide on using AMD FSR on any game, even if your GPU is not supported on a driver level, has all the information you need. You only need a free tool called Magpie.
You’ll lose some clarity, but you’ll keep the game’s “looks” if you lower the resolution. If the game is still sluggish, you can try dropping the graphics settings mentioned above in the advanced stages.
Model detail should be the last thing to be added in most games. If you reduce the fidelity too much, the character models may resemble those of Super Mario 64.
Finding a Solution to Your Storage Problems
Unless you’re using blazing-fast NVMe drives, storage can be a bottleneck. Multitasking is the fastest way to degrade the performance of any storage device.
As a result, reduce the storage device’s load by running fewer processes. If the task manager shows that a program uses a lot of disc space, don’t just minimize it; remove it completely. Do this to allocate as much bandwidth to your game from your storage device.
Try to “spread the load” if you have multiple storage devices installed on your PC. Occasionally, the operating system needs to read and write data to them.
The OS should be installed on one device, while your games should be installed separately. As a result, each device will be able to focus on just one thing at a time: the OS, and your games, on the rest of the bandwidth.